Donald Leslie Norman |

Donald Leslie Norman

Donald Leslie Norman |

Donald Leslie Norman, 88, Black Hawk, died Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at Rapid City Regional Hospital. He may have been Black Hawk’s oldest continuous resident.

He was born December 20, 1920, in Rapid City, SD to Joseph and Ragnihild (Rena Swanson) Norman. They eventually moved to Black Hawk where Don attended elementary school. He graduated from Rapid City High School and attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where he studied civil engineering and was a member of Theta Tau Fraternity. Don learned to drive in a Model T Ford Touring Car. During his college years he delivered milk raised on his parents’ farm and sold shoes at F & M Bootery in Rapid City. He also worked as a draftsman.

On August 1, 1943, Don married Dorothy Messerli in Rapid City. They met at a dance in Lead two and a half years before. The couple lived in Black Hawk and Rapid City. They moved to the Peter Norman 1881 homestead with their two and a half year old daughter in 1947. Don and Dorothy ranched there for 62 of the 128 years the homestead has been in the Norman family. They operated a Grade A Dairy until 1979, (during one seven year time period, Don never missed a milking) and ranched with their two sons, Tom and Joe.

Don had a love of flying. He walked 2 1/2 miles to grade school; one year he had perfect attendance and earned his first airplane ride from the teacher’s brother in an open biplane. Don eventually took flying lessons in a Piper J-3 Cub and soloed the week he was 50 in a Piper 140.

He served as President and Director of Brown Swiss Milk Company and was Treasurer and Director of Black Hills Milk Producers and Director of Patron’s Cooperative Association, Rapid City. Don was an Advisory Director of First Bank of South Dakota, Sturgis Branch.

Nationally, he was Director of both the National Dairy Council and the United Dairy Industry. Don once served as the Executive Director of the American Dairy Association of South Dakota.

For two years, Don was Chairman of the Central States Fair. In 2000 he was inducted into the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the South Dakota Stockgrowers, an early member of the Black Hawk Fire Dept., and served on the Black Hawk School Board and Election Board. He was a member of the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation. He was a life long member of the Elks, also a member of The Officials who ushered at basketball games and the rodeo.

He enjoyed his family, the Western South Dakota Buckaroos, the Custer Trail Ride, the “Friday Noon Martini (only one and a bowl of soup) Bunch”. He felt he was always blessed by his many good friends. His cows were blessed by that one extra bale of hay every day.

Survivors include a brother James (Pearl) Norman, Bellevue, WA, a daughter, Nancy Norman-Uhl, and her husband Keith, Des Moines, IA, two sons: Thomas W. Norman and his wife, Georgia, Black Hawk, and Joseph F. Norman, and his wife, Diane, Piedmont; 6 grandchildren: Elizabeth Norman Uhl, Los Angeles, CA, Elliot Norman Uhl, Arlington, VA, Michelle Henkel and her husband Cory, Plymouth, MN, Matthew Donald Norman, Rapid City, Angela Jackley and her husband Martin, Pierre, and Christine Vreugdenhil and her husband, Justin, Ardmore, OK; 4 great grandchildren: Taylor and Wyatt Henkel and Michael and Isabella Jackley.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife and sweetheart of 69 years, Dorothy, brother, Paul of Rapid City and sister, Helen Rennie, Riverside, CA.

A memorial has been established.

Visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home, with a Christian wake service at 4 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21, at Our Lady of the Black Hills Catholic Church in Piedmont, with Fr. Mark McCormick Presiding. Burial will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery with the Western South Dakota Buckaroos assisting.

An online guestbook is available at